HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Five members of the Southern Miss football team have been named to Phil Steele's 2013 Preseason All-Conference USA team, highlighted by first-team honorees defensive back Deron Wilson and defensive tackle Khyri Thornton.
Senior linebackers Alan Howze and Dylan Reda picked up third and fourth-team honors, respectively, while senior safety Jacorius Cotton garnered a fourth-team in his own right.
Wilson and Thornton enter the 2013 campaign as two of C-USA's premier defenders and will reunite with defensive coordinator David Duggan, who led the Nasty Bunch defense to top marks in C-USA during their 2011 C-USA championship, as he returns to ‘The Rock' with new head coach Todd Monken.
The New Orleans, La., native Wilson has started every game of his Golden Eagle career, a span of 38 games, dating back to his redshirt freshman season in 2010. In that span, he has become one of the league's top shutdown corners and is second all-time in pass breakups in school history. He also enters 2013 as the team's active career leader in interceptions with eight and has returned three of those for touchdowns.
Thornton, a senior run stopper from Panama City, Fla., tallied a career-high 36 tackles from his interior position last season and has 39 games under his belt heading into 2013. His 9.5 tackles for loss in 2012 were second-most on the team behind former teammate and the first pick for the NFL's New England Patriots, Jamie Collins.
Howze and Reda carried the main linebacker duties for Southern Miss last season in the 4-2-5 scheme and combined for 121 tackles and were second and fourth on the team overall. Howze's 35 assisted tackles and pair of fumble recoveries were team-bests while his 2.5 sacks were good for second on the squad, behind Collins. Cotton, who has been a main-stay in the Golden Eagle secondary since his freshman season, will enter 2013 with 36 games played and 151 career tackles.
Southern Miss and Monken begin their 2013 campaign inside the confines of Roberts Stadium, Aug. 31, when they host Texas State.